Apocalypse of playgrounds - How to get our children to play in the real world?

Today around 2:30pm I took my 10 year old child to the playground- not a sunny day but not raining- about 55 degrees.

When we arrived we did not see one kid!! Then a few toddlers and babies showed up 10 minutes later. This playground usually has loads of kids of all ages (equipment big enough for teens and adults) playing on equipment and kicking balls- playing catch etc… two years ago the scene was much different- this is a highly populated area in north Bay Area- California- totally safe neighborhood too.

This is just a snapshot- but my first reaction was this… Look at the ages of the kids- once they are the “appropriate” age to use devices- preschool/kinder it’s over…,

We played at this playground for 2 hours- even played in the creek etc… and the whole time we did not see one kid over the age of 2-3.

Scenes like this make me wonder, now what we’re we missing when that first child was handed an iPad?

This development will never be recovered because each stage builds on the next till old age. The muscles and nerves support our spine that gives us balance- and how will this look in 80 years? We just don’t know- so why take a chance?

Up till today I really thought- each to his own- some kids manage tech better than others. But after seeing this empty playground, I really think this could be the biggest public health problem that ever faced humanity. You can’t build a healthy body without movement- and screens rob kids of this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Today via Hacker News I found this article:

The article has this disturbing video to raise awareness of the issue:

And the Hacker News thread has some good discussion and references too, like this book on how to make the real world playground more attractive to children:

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I chaperoned a field trip for my daughter last year- and her classmates were painfully bored on this hike we took along the Marin Headlands Coast north of San Francisco- the most beautiful Northern California coastline. The beauty of that coastline took my child’s breath away- a completely unplugged kid…

Technology in some ways rips kids wonder if nature- once electronics are introduced- it’s hard to culthvate that connection.

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This is one the challenges of our time. Cell phone addiction is detrimental to our children, not to mention adults. Please view my TEDx Talk, Saving The Magic Of Childhood. The focus is cell phone addition, what it is and strategies to deal with it. Scroll down at my web site, www.psmccandless.com.

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Thanks for posting @BecomingJesse I’ll be sure to watch this this week.

I saw a friend walking on the street today with his teenager and he was literally screaming at his teenager to hand over his phone- I had never seen this guy get so upset!!